Man Utd 2-1 Barcelona (agg: 4-3) – Erik ten Hag calls Europa League win his biggest as Man Utd manger | Football News
Erik ten Hag has hailed Manchester United’s Europa League victory against Barcelona as “my biggest win” as the club’s manager, and praised the personality of his players to come from behind.
After an electric first leg at the Nou Camp last week that saw the sides draw 2-2, Man Utd went behind early on in the second leg after a Robert Lewandowski penalty.
But after the introduction of Antony at half-time, the hosts looked like a changed side. Fred equalised minutes after the break before Antony himself fired home the winner and seal Man Utd’s place in the Europa League last 16.
When asked if this is his biggest win as Man Utd manager, Ten Hag told BT Sport: “I think so, yes. We’ve had some good wins – Liverpool and Arsenal at home.
“I think this, over two legs, against Barcelona – leaders in LaLiga, eight points ahead of Real Madrid. We have all seen Real Madrid this week.
“So if you can beat them, then yes, this is my biggest win.”
He later added: “It was too flat in the first half, a little bit more belief. Our spare man, Casemiro, we did not use enough. Aaron Wan-Bissaka had a lot of space on the right side. We did not use him enough. Our pressing could have been more brave. That is what we said at half-time.”
‘We have great personalities in our team’
Leroy Rosenior reacts to Antony’s goal for Manchester United against Barcelona which put them 2-1 up at Old Trafford in their Europa League tie
Thursday’s win proved to be a stunning comeback against one of Europe’s in-form sides, further demonstrating just how far Ten Hag has bought his team since his summer arrival.
He explained to BT Sport: “We have some great personalities in the team – like with Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez. They come forward.
“Antony and Garnacho don’t fear anyone and we have more. Bruno, Casemiro. We have some great personalities so even when we get setbacks, they move on.
Manchester United’s Fred celebrates his goal against Barcelona
“They are resilient and they are focused on getting the result even after conceding a cheap penalty. They believe they can turn it around.”
He also praised the contributions of goalscorers Antony and Fred – comparing his midfielder’s marking of Frenkie de Jong to that of a mosquito.
Antony helped change the game for Man Utd with his introduction at half-time
He said: “Antony is brave and he is fearless. I think what he brought in the second half is what we needed, running in behind, the dribbles, his goals. He is brave, he will go for it and when the opportunity comes, he will strike. I think he brings so much to this team.
“Fred had an important role. Already, last week in Barcelona, and this week, the same. He had to first stop Frenkie de Jong from playing.
“He had to play as a mosquito around him and go behind and he did it. He was magnificent. A brilliant assist for Rashy in Barcelona and today the goal.”
Jonathan Liew and John Cross reflect on Manchester United’s Europa League win over Barcelona and impact Erik ten Hag has had at Old Trafford
It was another game in which half-time substitutions have influenced the result, and Ten Hag was keen to stress that it takes a squad to be successful.
He added: “Football is 11 versus 11, we attack with 11 and defend with 11, but it is more than that it is about the squad. You need different types and different profiles.
“When your time is there, you have to be ready to come on and contribute to the team. You cannot win trophies with 11, especially not nowadays in football, you need a squad to bring different dynamics in the game.”
Analysis: Half-time change wins it for Man Utd
Leroy Rosenior reacts to Fred’s equalising goal for Manchester United against Barcelona in their Europa League tie
Sky Sports’ Adam Bate at Old Trafford:
“Manchester United have had 19 goals scored by substitutes in all competitions this season, the most of any side in Europe’s big five leagues. Antony’s will rank as one of the most important and came following a crucial switch by Erik ten Hag at the interval.
“Wout Weghorst has started all 11 games since signing for United last month and is clearly a favourite of his compatriot. But Ten Hag is ruthless enough to recognise when something is not working and his swift swap at half-time helped his team to turn this tie around.
“Bruno Fernandes moved to the middle, Jadon Sancho reverted to the left. Rashford went up front and offered that threat in behind. Antony played on the right. It worked. Fernandes set up the equaliser having roamed to the left. Antony scored the winner.
“Ten Hag has felt short of options for much of his time in charge. No doubt he will want more next season. But he has already shown himself capable of identifying what is required in a game and finding the solution. It made the difference against Barcelona.”
Full Story: https://www.skysports.com/football/news/12040/12818134/man-utd-2-1-barcelona-agg-4-3-erik-ten-hag-calls-europa-league-win-his-biggest-as-man-utd-manger
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